By: Matt Fazio, Ph.D. CAD Coordinator
For the last several years, I have been a part of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce. At first, I just attended luncheons and a few after hours events. Then I was recruited to be a part of the Membership Committee. On the committee, I learned just how unique the BBW Chamber really was. The following year I ran for a board seat, and by year two I was nominated to be the Vice President. Most recently, I have served as the President of the BBW Chamber of Commerce for the past two years. I stepped down as President in our June restructuring meeting.
Although I will continue to stay a board member, I wanted to mark this occasion with a few thoughts over the past few years.
Nothing Beats a Personal Relationship
In both my teaching career and my professional career, I have learned various ways of making a sale. However, there is no substitute for making a personal relationship. I want to work with the people I know and trust. The reason that this method works out so well is because you don't need most services and goods until you need them. Developing relationships with people in the chamber taught me to value a trusted colleague in a different way. In the chamber, all board members are there to enrich the communities in which we serve (that is my subtle way of saying we aren't being paid). It has been amazing to watch people step up and do the work, and I like to think I've carried my own weight, too.
Nothing Prepares You for a Global Pandemic
One of the major goals I set out to achieve as president was to standardize several of our routine processes and procedures. However, just as things were getting sorted out, we all adjusted for the pandemic. For about 15 months our chamber did not meet in person. The entire trajectory of our organization looked different. It was all hands on deck. Within a matter of days, we had to overhaul everything that we built to make it accessible online. The process was not pretty, but it worked.
The experience of being the leader of an organization for a few years was a humbling experience. I relied heavily on the more experienced members of the board to bounce ideas off of and I was impressed with the fresh perspectives from the new members of the board. I learned that running an organization can be really difficult, especially when people are only meeting virtually. Also, I was able to see how many people truly cared about causes and initiatives.
I am excited to continue serving as a member of the BBW Chamber Board! For businesses and organizations in the area, consider stopping by at a luncheon!